The broad beans are bearing. Not so many of them this year and they will run out a lot earlier than last year. I’ve made Ful Medames a few times now, and Broad bean felafels, and we’ve had them for breakfast and as side dishes. But this Tuesday Night Vego Challenge features broad beans as the main attraction.
Beans in general are super healthy and have a number of characteristics that are likely to make you feel good. They’re full of low GI carbohydates, good quality protein, soluble and non-soluble fibre, and a good range of vitamins and minerals especially B vitamins, folate and iron – which all play a role in keeping your energy levels high. They also have a range of phytonutrients like lignans and flavonoids and sterols that play a role in warding off osteoporosis, heart disease and the kind of cell damage that leads to cancer. But the specialty of broad beans is that they’re a good source of l- dopa, a precursor to dopamine. Too little dopamine is a characteristic of Parkinsons, and of depression and anxiety, and there’s lots of research around about broad beans for Parkinson’s and some about broad beans for depression and anxiety.
But good for you and virtuously good are only two of the three Witches Kitchen goods, and I used to think broad beans failed on number three until I discovered the north African and Middle Eastern way of cooking them with lemon, olive oil and garlic. The lemon in particular just lifts them to another dimension. This recipe uses preserved lemon and its sweet sour salty mix is a perfect match.
Makes dinner for two.
- Saute an onion with half a teaspoon of cumin seeds and a clove of chopped garlic (or more if you are not being frugal waiting for the garlic to be ready to harvest), till the onion is translucent and the cumin seeds start to pop.
- Add half a cup of water and a cup of shelled broad beans and pressure cook 5 minutes, or simmer for 15. (You might need to add a bit more water if you are simmering.)
- 2 dessertspoons of preserved lemon finely chopped,
- half a cup (packed) of finely chopped flat leaf parsley, mint and coriander,
- juice of quarter of a lemon.
- Cook for another 2 minutes till the liquid is pretty well all gone.
- Turn off and add a stalk of celery, chopped, a handful of chopped rocket, and 75 grams of feta in small dice.
- It’s best served with warm pita bread, but also good rolled up in a lettuce leaf like San Choi Bau or with couscous.